Heavenly Father, I, too, say “amazing love how can it be? That, thou, my God should die for me!”
Read Mark 15:33-41
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Lifted up was he to die. / “It is finished” was his cry; / … Hallelujah! What a Savior!” (Philip P. Bliss)
Who can know what is going through Jesus’ mind at this point? Luther, it is claimed, said, “God forsaken of God: who can understand it?” The onlookers do not understand (35). They fail to see the significance of Jesus’ quotation from Psalm 22:1; a psalm which shaped his understanding of his death. Perhaps they are influenced by their expectation that Elijah would return as a herald of the Messiah (Mal. 4:5).
The women (40,41) may not understand, but at least they are there. The word “follow” is the language of discipleship; in our concentration on the twelve we forget that Jesus included women among his disciples (Luke 8:1-3). They may not understand, but at least they are there, showing solidarity with, and concern for, their Lord. It is they, not the twelve, who are the witnesses of his death, burial, and, initially, of his resurrection.
The centurion does not understand, but he does have a profound insight. In what R.T. France describes as “one of the Christological high points of the Gospel,” he has captured something that the devout and expectant Jews missed, and a reminder that Jesus, as he had pointed out (John 10:16; 12:32; Matt. 22:1), has come for all humanity.
We, ourselves, do not understand, at least not completely. We can rejoice in the new access symbolized by the torn temple curtain, knowing that at the moment of apparent failure Jesus has accomplished the perfect will of God and has opened the way into the presence of God for all. We can have confidence that the old order has gone and the new has come. But there are depths to God’s love for broken men and women that will always lie beyond our full comprehension.
Today, as you reflect on the mystery of the cross, pray that you may feel something of Jesus’ agony and sacrifice.
Father, today I think of all that the Cross means to me: the way opened to Your heart, salvation offered and sins forgiven, the opportunity of a new beginning. Thanks be to God!
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.